“That’s a lot of lights, Dad.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure it’s a lot of work too, but if I’m out in the cold and I’m committed to decorating the house, I’m gonna do it right and I’m gonna do it big. You want something you can be proud of, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Sure you do.”
“You think you might be overdoing it, Dad?”
“When was the last time I overdid anything?”
For Clark Griswald in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), things of course didn’t go exactly as planned.
For Scott Winslade, however, his Christmas light display couldn’t be more perfectly done.
Bing Crosby’s It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas has been running in a loop in my head these days, but I can’t seem to get fully into the spirit just yet. Tis the season for all the big feelings, am I right? Right.
Anyway, I’m sure it’s not just me but sometimes it’s hard for adults to feel all Christmasy. Especially these days as the pressures of the world seem to keep weighing us down. But every now and then we get lucky and receive a really meaty dose of spirit from somebody who seems to have it all figured out.
I admit, it’s been fun to see the lights go up, the lawn ornaments placed, and even some Christmas trees revealed when we’ve spied on our neighbours — I mean innocently glanced through their windows while their curtains were open…
By and large most of the displays we see outside have been small. But every year there’s always one or two in the community that go over the top and practically force us to welcome the season whether we’re ready to or not. You know, in a good way. I’m talking about displays like Winslade’s.
Perfectly timed to more than 15 Christmas classics, his 2,500-light display at 3102 Keystone Dr. in Duncan has been more than 10 months in the making.
“I’ve been working on it since February,” Winslade said. “I thought it’d be a great hobby and give me something to keep me busy,” he said.
Winslade explained that each of the songs he’s programmed to dance to the lights took him many hours to create.
“Each song takes about four to six hours to make depending how complex it is,” he said. “Each LED can be controlled individually and each area of the house that has lights had to have a custom ‘holder’ made to put all the individual LEDs into spaced apart an equally 2.75 inches each.”
What’s more, there are two talking Christmas trees perched atop the garage roof that have been programmed to have funny exchanges — including the famous Griswald conversation that kicked off this column.
It’s a sight not to be missed for those needing a boost of holiday spirit, or for those wanting to celebrate the season in a big way.
“The neighbours love it,” Winslade said, as does his partner’s 10-year-old.
Now that it’s complete, the community can check out his handiwork.
“The most rewarding thing about all this is seeing everyone’s reaction and complete surprise at what the lights can do,” he said.
A sample video is available on YouTube for those who’d like to see it online.
Winslade’s lights run nightly from 5:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. until the end of December. And after you’ve filled your Christmas spirit cup full to the brim on Keystone Drive, you can check out other displays in the Cowichan area and let your cup runneth over, thanks to Winslade. He’s made a map of roughly 25 homes (https://goo.gl/maps/HYmkp8tboBHQzkbf6) that feature even more area displays that are a little more extra than the rest.
And don’t worry too much if you miss it this year, Winslade is already hard at work preparing next year’s show “so it will be bigger and better.”
He’s still got a few more to go to reach Griswald’s 25,000 lights, but Winslade is well on his way.